Although residential property prices and market conditions remain favourable as the wet season approaches, First National Real Estate Cairns Central principal, David Forrest has advised homeowners to avoid the six most common mistakes people make when pricing their home.


‘Local dwelling values have remained quite strong over the past twelve months and, with stock levels remaining comparatively low, as well as low vacancy rates, vendors may be tempted to be less careful with their pricing’ said David.


‘The six common mistakes always lead to the same outcome; a protracted marketing period, extra advertising costs, buyer caution, and a weaker negotiating position.’


David said one of the reasons First National Real Estate recently won Canstar Blue’s ‘Most Satisfied Customers 2016’ award was because the network’s agents are focused on helping customers bring their properties to market with realistic expectations and an appropriate pricing strategy. According to Mr Forrest, the six most common pricing mistakes are:


  1. Ignoring research
  2. Choosing an agent who provides the highest appraisal price
  3. Making emotional decisions
  4. Pricing too high from the outset
  5. Overpricing because you are not in a hurry
  6. Chasing the market


‘It’s incumbent on every homeowner to do their research on comparable local sales. That’s easy these days, with so many websites freely offering recent sale prices’ said David Forrest


‘Combining your research with that of your agent’s advice and current market analysis leads to an accurate, realistic price expectation. From there, a complete marketing strategy can be tailored to suit.’


The national average for the number of days it takes to sell a property fell from 50 days to 39 days in September. This fall means that if your property stays on the market longer than the average, you could be committing one or more of the six mistakes.


Customer satisfaction research and ratings agency, Canstar Blue, has announced First National Real Estate the winner of its 2016 ‘Most Satisfied Customers’ award, following customer research about the experience of homeowners, tenants and landlords with Australia’s largest real estate brands.


In assessing quality of service delivery nationwide, Canstar Blue focused on a series of measures incorporating agent advice and communication; problem resolution, value for money, marketing, moving services, contract handling and finally, overall satisfaction. First National Real Estate was the only real estate company to achieve 5-star ratings.


‘As members of Australia’s largest network of independent agents, First National Real Estate Cairns Central is delighted to be recognised as a customer satisfaction leader’ said First National Cairns Central principal, David Forrest.


‘There can be no greater measure of the success of the client / agent relationship than overall satisfaction. This award represents the fulfillment of our membership’s nationwide commitment to ensure we deliver Australia’s best real estate sales and property management services’.


Last year, First National Real Estate also received the Canstar Blue award for overall customer satisfaction in New Zealand, thus highlighting the excellence First National agencies provide on both sides of The Tasman.


‘Each and every one of our offices is committed to customer satisfaction so it’s no coincidence our network has now won this award in both countries. We see this as proof positive that our culture, training, communication, service and commitment to results sets us apart from our competitors’ said David.


‘A critical difference at First National is that our membership requirements relate specifically to service delivery, not generation of fees for our head office. As a cooperative, our agents work together, not against each other, and the Canstar Blue award confirms consumers see the benefits’.


Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle, congratulated First National Real Estate on the success, saying: “This is a great result across all customer touch points, suggesting First National is satisfying its customers regardless of their differing professional real estate requirements.


“Good communications and problem resolution are crucial elements of any good real estate service and it is notable that First National was the only one to rate five stars in these areas.”

First National Real Estate Cairns Central Shines at Awards Night

First National Real Estate Cairns Central was recognised for its outstanding achievement at the General Excellence and Marketing (GEM) Awards, held at a cocktail dinner at Sofitel Brisbane on Saturday night.


First National Real Estate is Australia’s largest independent real estate network and its gala evening celebrated the best of Queensland’s real estate performances over the past year, which according to First National Real Estate Cairns Central, principal, David Forrest, required the profession to continue to achieve results in an environment of tighter mortgage lending criteria.


‘First National Real Estate focused on delivering its agents advanced digital marketing tools and industry leading professional development throughout 2015’, David Forrest said.


‘This contributed to the network being voted “Australia’s number one employer” and the number one network for “brand, culture and support” in an independent survey of industry experts.


‘Our staff have worked and trained hard to maintain a leading edge and the results have been impressive.’


At the presentation, First National Real Estate Cairns Central received the following awards.


  • Highest Increase of Property Management Gross Revenue (%)
  • Commercial  Highest Number of Exclusive Listings
  • Commercial Highest Number of Settled Sales


Key staff also received recognition for their individual performances:

  • Grant Stone received the Gold award
  • Chris Eustace received the Silver award
  • Susan Anderson received the Silver award
  • Patrice Hayton received the Administrator of the year award


David Forrest said the First National GEM Awards are an important event as they present an opportunity for the network’s members to celebrate achievements, while encouraging their colleagues to aspire to an ongoing process of performance improvement that benefits customers.




Issued by: First National Real Estate Cairns Central:


For further information contact: David Forrest, Principal, First National Real Estate Cairns Central, on 07 4046 9300 announces ‘most recommended’ agents for 2015



Not so long ago, a real estate agent’s most powerful tool for winning business was the number and sale value of properties they’d sold.

These figures still count – but in an era when 88 per cent of consumers are reading online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, it’s bona fide reviews from other vendors that often influence their decision to choose one real estate agent over another.

As Australia’s only truly independent real estate agent ratings website, with almost 100,000 genuine reviews from vendors, is delighted to announce the most recommended agents Australia-wide for 2015.

“These are the most independent real estate awards in the country because they’re determined purely by clients’ experiences of their selling agents,” says Mark Armstrong, CEO of “The ‘most recommended’ agents are those who received the highest number of positive client reviews for properties they sold during 2015.

“The only way agents can qualify for these awards is to list and sell property, and receive reviews for the properties they sell. And, because each review is linked with a property transaction on, they carry substantial credibility with the people who read them.”

Within the most recommended awards there are three categories for agents and agencies:

  • Australia’s top 100 most recommended (see below)
  • the top 10 most recommended in each state
  • the most recommended in each ‘qualifying’ suburb (that is, suburbs where an agent or agency has sold at least five properties and received at least five positive reviews during 2015).

All winners are listed here.

Cairns City most recommended agent or agency

Sue Anderson of First National Cairns Central and Cairns Beaches has taken out top honours in Cairns City for 2015 with positively reviewed sales

First National Real Estate Headshots

First National Cairns Central and Cairns Beaches is  not alone in their awareness of the importance of vendor reviews. “Australia’s most recommended agents already know that having genuine reviews in the public domain is the most credible and effective tool to help vendors choose an agent,” says Armstrong. “Now, First National Real Estate Cairns Central and Cairns Beaches and the other winners can use their ‘most recommended’ status as a powerful tool to boost their profiles. It’s a genuine game-changer for the industry.”

By Mark Armstrong


First National Real Estate Cairns Central says claims of a looming ‘housing market bloodbath’ in the Parliamentary submission of two economists are overly technical and fail to appreciate the realities of Australian Real Estate, where the bulk of our population wants to live in a fraction of available space, and where home ownership is deeply embedded in the national psyche.

‘The submission suggests that house prices must fall to once again reflect economic fundamentals. However, it depends entirely on what fundamentals you consider and with all the talk of affordability issues in the media, it’s easy for consumers to be blinded to the truths that underpin Australian real estate’ said First National Real Estate Cairns central principal, David Forrest.

Economists generally measure affordability using a comparison of middle-market house prices against average incomes, as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Based on average household incomes of $75,000 to $85,000, that makes a house in Sydney about 9.7 times average income; a house in Melbourne about 7.3 times income, and a house in Brisbane about 6 times average income.

‘The problem with the ABS income figures is that they disguise the real picture. They include a range of people not actually in the housing market and research from Barclays argues average household incomes are actually significantly higher in Australia – in the region of $122,000’ said David Forrest.

‘This explains why many Australians can afford homes in the region of $650,000 to $800,000 on loan to value ratios of 70 per cent. Also, 10 to 15 years ago, ABS statistics indicated only 250,000 households earned over $156,000 per annum. That figure has now increased to more than a million Australian households and the number of households earning in excess of $260,000 has tripled.’

By contrast, housing stocks in fashionable capital city areas have not increased by anywhere near that magnitude and, when people don’t want to consider suburbs where homes are cheaper, the impression is created that housing is unaffordable. Yet, throughout Australia’s suburbs and regions there are many affordable alternatives available.

‘Our local and Federal Governments need to maintain focus on much needed public transport infrastructure that facilitates easy access to employment centres, release more land for housing construction, and consider incentives that help people relocate to regional centres where businesses are struggling to find talented employees’ said David Forrest.

First National Real Estate Announces Cairns 2016 National Convention

Australasia’s largest independent real estate network, First National Real Estate, has announced that it will host its 2016 National Convention at the Hilton Cairns next May. The event is anticipated to attract over 400 estate agents and will contribute more than a million dollars to the Cairns and Far North Queensland economy.

Speaking on behalf of the network’s local offices, principal of First National Cairns Central, David Forrest, emphasised the importance that First National Real Estate places upon arranging key components of its conference so that as many tourism operators and local businesses receive as large a benefit as possible.

‘While the focus of our National Conventions is always on professional development, there are quite a number of separate VIP, fundraising and awards events around the convention that will be held in different locations’ said Mr Forrest.

‘Plus many of our members will extend their stay afterwards, taking the opportunity to explore the region in which we base our convention. This means car hire companies; hotels, restaurants, retailers and a large list of tourism attractions will be the recipients of a boost to business.’

The network has just completed its 2015 National Convention in Queenstown, New Zealand, where it celebrated its 30th anniversary in both the north and south islands. Founded in regional Victoria 33 years ago, New Zealand was the first area of major international expansion for the Australian cooperative and today, First National Real Estate has grown to over 400 offices, nearly 80 of which are distributed throughout Queensland.

‘One of the factors that influenced First National to choose Cairns for next year’s convention was the impending release of vital projects such as Nova Cairns, Aquis and now C3. These developments were seen as important enterprises in Cairns and First National’s Executive determined that it’s presence may boost confidence and employment prospects locally’ said Mr Forrest.

‘We’re very proud of the opportunity this presents for Cairns and are excited about working with the planning committee over the next eleven months to showcase the best that Cairns has to offer.’


Featured imageFirst National Real Estate Cairns Central says suggestions that negative gearing is a perk for the rich are misguided and, if eliminated in the next budget, the most vulnerable in our communities could soon see unaffordable rental prices.

‘The great Australian dream is to own your own home and it is important we remember just about every Australian begins his or her journey to property ownership as a tenant in a rental property’ said First National Real Estate Cairns Central principal, David Forrest.

‘Australia has one of the fastest growing populations in the OECD so keeping rents affordable depends entirely on maintaining an adequate supply of rental properties. This can only be done if Australians continue invest in properties they are prepared to rent to others. The main thing that keeps that attractive is negative gearing’.

Current taxation arrangements offer Australians the opportunity to invest in real estate as a way of saving for independence in retirement. However, with the average property investor owning just one rental property and having an income no higher than $80,000, suggestions that the rich are exploiting negative gearing are an exaggeration.

‘If negative gearing were removed in an environment of the lowest interest rates since the 1950s, Australians would be unlikely to continue to invest in rental properties at current rates. They would seek better returns elsewhere and, with population growth near record highs, the supply of rental properties would fall short of demand, thereby forcing up rents’ said David.

‘This would place unacceptable pressure on the most vulnerable citizens in our community. It would also lengthen the amount of time it takes for first home buyers who are renting to save a deposit to buy their first home’.

Currently, the rate at which rents are rising is slowing down. In fact, rents had an annual growth rate averaging 1.8 per cent in 2014, which means they were rising more slowly than inflation in 2014. If negative gearing were dropped, that situation could change rapidly.

‘Negative gearing plays a vital role in balancing supply against the demand for rental properties and this helps keep housing affordable for everybody’ said David Forrest.

Issued by: First National Real Estate Cairns Central

For further information contact:

David Forrest Principal, First National Real Estate Cairns Central, on 07 404 69300